Even before the city council passed the ordinance providing free meals to select college students, Saint Louis University has already been providing food to its students for free.
In a letter to Mayor Benjamin B. Magalong, SLU President Rev. Fr. Gildert B. Sales said they have spearheaded the Project Daily Bread (PDB) where SLU provides free meals to their students and snacks during examination days.
Sales said PDB was conceived in response to the reports of involuntary hunger experienced by students as monitored by their Center for Counselling and Wellness formerly known as the Guidance Center.
“PDB aims to provide decent and healthy lunch meals for identified Louisian students who are screened basically for involuntary hunger due to poverty,” Sales said.
The project started in the academic year 2011 to 2012 with SLU employees as the project’s main donors to raise funds to start the program.
Eventually, a few alumni associations who partner with the institution through their scholarship programs have become additional donors.
“This initiative is the university’s contribution to the effort of eliminating hunger among our marginalized students by providing healthy meals and lessening their anxiety over their financial struggles,” Sales said.
He said PDB thrives on the generosity of others and not abandoning those struggling to survive in their aim to thrive.
Sales said that to sustain the project, SLU has been conducting annual fund raising activities.
“During the CICM Foundation Week 2023-2024, PDB was able to raise funds for 197 meals while additional 30 employees pledged an amount to contribute to PDB funds,” Sales said.
He added the institution, steadfast in its mission of providing quality education and ensuring that all students have equal access to education, considers the health and wellbeing of their students aligned to the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals 3 and 4. – Jessa Mardy P. Samidan